In my bubble of limited awareness, I see survival as a set of unquestionable needs that must be filled. Rigid adherence to this program of need-fulfillment is what I call self-domestication.
Let’s investigate three aspects of domestication and apply them to ego.
- A sense of survival (needs)
- A sense of relationship
- An understanding of self in relationship
Sense of Survival
Defense is a survival program that domesticates my thoughts and behaviors. When I domesticate, I trade one understanding of how to survive for another. Thus, I adapt to a new intention.
In the case of dependence, the survival program is master over me. I domesticate to that understanding by defending it. In that understanding and defense, I am not in charge of my life – that domesticator is. That domesticator is not a person, place, or thing. It is my dependence on it! Even when the domesticator proves to be me!
Because survival has a very narrow understanding, I must seek resources to help me live and escape predation. My survival program knows nothing of options or choices because it’s strictly controlled. My mind adds versatility to consider options.
Sense of Relationship
Perhaps domestication is adaptation to the power structure in a relationship matrix of which I and others are served. In the case of a pet, for example, this power structure is represented in the difference between master and pet. This structure appears in families in the power difference between generations, and, to some degree between domestic partners. To the degree one adapts to power structures, one exhibits domestication.
In the process of domesticating animals, man and animal live by the same process of give and take to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I can do the same with my mind by accepting a different relationship with my ego. Thus, a new way emerges.
Understanding of Self in Relationship
When the ego is in charge, we both feel afraid. When the conscious mind is in charge, everyone feels more secure. Out of that relationship emerges selfless service.
Understanding the power structure of mind in relationship with ego is the beginning of realization and exercise of compassion.
The more I learn about my world, the more I am able to “know myself” as the ancient Greeks admonished us. The more I know myself, the more I am able to exercise compassion. It’s a positive feedback loop that acknowledges ego in the process of knowing self. This can free the mind from its shackles – bringing all aspects of creation into the light of compassion.
What if compassion is the goal of the game of life?
When I distrust my ego – “it’s something I have to overcome” – what am I saying to an aspect of me? What would a new relationship look like with my ego? How might I connect to my ego with gratitude, affection, and respect?
What if I were to consider my ego in a loving relationship with me – like I would a loved pet or companion?
- What do my ego and I want/need/intend?
- How can I relate to my ego in a way that honors it?
- Why do I want a relationship with my ego?
- Who am I with my ego?
“I train humans, and rehabilitate dogs.” (Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer)
What if I were to adapt Cesar’s quote to:
“As I awaken my conscious mind, I rehabilitate my ego.”